The Chicago Board of Trade Building is a skyscraper located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It stands at 141 W. Jackson Boulevard at the foot of the LaSalle Street canyon, in the Loop community area in Cook County. Built in 1930 and first designated a Chicago Landmark on May 4 1977, the building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on June 2 1978. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 16 1978. Originally built for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), it is now the primary trading venue for the CME Group, formed in 2007 by the merger of the CBOT and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
The 141 W. Jackson address hosted the former tallest building in Chicago designed by William W. Boyington before the current Holabird & Root structure, which held the same title for over 35 years until being surpassed in 1965 by the Richard J. Daley Center. The current structure is known for its art deco architecture, sculptures and large-scale stone carving, as well as large trading floors. A three-story art deco statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture (particularly grain), caps the building. The building is a popular sightseeing attraction and location for shooting movies, and its owners and management have won awards for efforts to preserve the building and for office management.
The building attracted tourists and visitors. Viewing galleries were opened to the public for the first time in honor of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. In 1895, the clock tower was removed and the "tallest building in Chicago" record was then held by the tall Masonic Temple Building. Built on caissons surrounded by muck, the trading house was rendered structurally unsound in the 1920s when construction began across the street on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The 1885 building was subsequently demolished in 1929, and the exchange temporarily moved to Van Buren and Clark while a new building was constructed at the LaSalle and Jackson site.
The central structure is capped by a 6,500 pound, tall aluminum statue of the Roman goddess of grain, Ceres, holding a sheaf of wheat in the left hand and a bag of corn in the right hand, as a nod to the exchange's heritage as a commodities market. This statue was assembled from 40 pieces. As it is near the forty-five story point, sculptor John H. Storrs believed that no other building would be tall enough for the inhabitants to clearly see the statue's face, and therefore it was left blank.
Commissioned in 1930 but removed from the agricultural trading room in 1973 and stored until 1982, John W. Norton's three-story mural of Ceres shown bare-breasted in a field of grain underwent extensive restoration in Spring Grove, Illinois by Louis Pomerantz before being displayed in the atrium of the 1980s addition.
According to the June 16 1930, Time, visitors carrying ripened wheat heads stared in curiosity at the six-story tall trading room directly above the lobby and behind the large windows below the clock facing LaSalle Street. At the center of the room, Time reported on the items being traded in "pits" organized based on commodities type with pits names such as the corn pit, soybean pit or wheat pit. The individual pits are raised octagonal structures where open outcry trading occurs. Steps up the outside of each octagon provide an amphitheater atmosphere, and enable a large number of traders to see each other and communicate during trading hours. With early versions dating back to 1870, this type of trading pit was patented in 1878.
The trading area is surrounded by desks allowing workers to support transactions. In the early days, the desks served as a relay point between the pits and those wishing to buy or sell. When trade orders and information began to be communicated by telegraph, Morse code operators were employed, later replaced by phone operators. In the late 20th century, electric display boards lined the walls of the trading hall and the advent of electronic trading resulted in computers being placed on desktops.
Subsequent additions to the Board of Trade Building moved the agricultural and financial trading floors out of the original trading room and into new spaces in the additions to the building's rear in the 1980s. In 2004 the historic 1930 trading floor, already substantially altered (and unused for more than two years), was demolished and its pits filled with concrete. It was renovated in a modern style and now is leased to a privately owned options trading firm.
In 1980, the owners added a 23-story expansion to the south side of the building. It was topped by an octagonal ornament shaped similarly to the terraced trading pits and was designed in a postmodern style by Helmut Jahn. Colored black and silver, with a sunlit atrium on the 12th floor facing the south wall of the older structure, the annex provided a four-story granite lined agricultural trading floor, then the world's largest at . Even as the Sydney Futures Exchange and other markets were ceasing outcry trading, Mayor Richard M. Daley led the groundbreaking on January 17 1995, for additional expansion into a five-story building to the east designed by architects Fujikawa Johnson and structural engineers TT-CBM. When opened in 1997, the $175 million structure would add of trading space and for a period again would house the world's largest trading floor. It was nicknamed the "Arboretum" by some in reference to expansion supporter CBOT Chairman Patrick H. Arbor. The expansion included price boards long and supported 12,000 computers, 6,000 voice devices, and 2,000 video devices requiring of cable. Collectively, the trading floors now encompass approximately . The logo of the CBOT represents a trading pit, and appears prominently on stonework facing Clark Street and on street-level barriers at the service entrance on Van Buren Street. The addition has a twelve-story atrium and melds historical and contemporary design with art deco references such as setbacks, central tower, symmetrical projecting wings, pyramidal roof and abstract cascade and scallop lobby design. Between the original and new buildings, where there was formerly a street, a wide street-level walkway connects the plaza on LaSalle Street to Van Buren Street in what would ordinarily be the building's first floor. Passing over the Van Buren Street elevated tracks, a green glass-enclosed steel-frame bridge connects the lower southwest corner of the 23 story addition to the Chicago Board Options Exchange (although this bridge was closed to pedestrian traffic in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks for security reasons).
In 2005, the building experienced an extensive $20 million renovation directed by Chicago architect Gunny Harboe, whose restoration work included Loop landmarks the Rookery Building and Reliance Building. The project included restoration of the main lobby to emphasize the design features of the art deco era, elevator modernization, façade renovation and cleaning, and the continued renovation of upper floor corridors and hallways. Though impractically small for modern use, mailboxes in the lobby were restored to their original condition to follow the theme of vertical lines found throughout the complex. An improved electrical infrastructure, with ten main feeds from seven different Commonwealth Edison electrical substations, was added in addition to redundant cooling systems and upgraded telecommunications capabilities.
When the old CBOT building was demolished in 1929, two tall gray granite statues of classically styled goddesses (pictured above) were moved from the second floor ledge above the main entrance into the gardens of the 500 acre (2 km²) estate of Arthur W. Cutten, a wheat and cotton speculator who went bankrupt during the Great Depression. One goddess represents agriculture and is shown standing with wheat and leaning on a cornucopia. The other represents industry and appears with the bow of a ship and an anvil.
The statues were found in 1978 near Glen Ellyn, Illinois by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, on land acquired from Cutten's estate. After being displayed in a parking lot at Danada Forest Preserve for several years, both were returned to the CBOT building's plaza and rededicated on June 9 2005.
Other nearby buildings of note include the Continental Commercial National Bank, now called 208 South LaSalle Street, which broke records in 1911 as the city’s most expensive development, with a cost exceeding $10 million. The Rand-McNally Building that had served as the headquarters of the World’s Columbian Exposition was demolished to accommodate the structure. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, at 230 South LaSalle Street, was built in a Greco-Roman style and contained the largest vaults in the world and one of the first building-wide wired communication systems. Both the Federal Reserve Bank and 208 South LaSalle demonstrate the popularity of neoclassical architecture during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and were meant to project a sense of financial security.
One mile (1.6 km) west of Lake Michigan and in the southwest corner of the Loop, the building is near two elevated stations of the Chicago 'L'. The Quincy station is one block to the west and the LaSalle/VanBuren station is between the CBOT and the Chicago Stock Exchange. Additionally, CTA Blue Line service is provided at the Jackson and LaSalle stations, each two blocks away. Union Station stands five blocks to the west on Jackson Boulevard, providing terminal service for Amtrak and select service for Metra. Additional Metra service is provided at the LaSalle Street Station, two blocks due south.
While maintaining studios in the building for many years, WCIU-TV broadcast the Stock Market Observer, a daily seven-hour live business television news program that is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for the show telecast the most hours. Additionally, the station broadcasts First Business with news of the Chicago Board of Trade.
At 1211 North LaSalle Street on the city's Near North Side, a 16-story apartment hotel built in 1929 and converted into an apartment building in 1981 was used by muralist Richard Haas for trompe-l'œil murals in homage to Chicago School architecture. One of the building's sides features the Chicago Board of Trade Building, intended as a reflection of the actual building two miles (3 km) south.